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Business > Aviation
Customs seizes military hardware from passenger at Lagos airport
By Ayoola Ponmile
July 5, 2012 18:38:45pm GMT | Views: 12
Murtala Muhammed International Airport

WorldStage Newsonline—The Murtala Muhammed International Airport Command of Nigeria Customs Service on Thursday said it has seized some military hardware at the Lagos airport.

The items which comprised  of two air  Barretta Pistols, 10 pieces of bullet proof vests, five pieces of jacket knives and three pieces of military camouflage attires were recovered from a passenger on July 1, 2012,shortly after  arriving the country aboard South African Airways.

Other items impounded by the Customs include two pieces of semi - automatic military uniforms, military combat caps, fez caps, eight pieces of purse, walkie talkie, shockers, knee pads, tear gas, head caps, chargers flight light , radios, , batons, traffic bars, and other prohibited items.

The passenger tried to smuggle the prohibited items into the country aboard South African Airways without permit from relevant authorities.

The passenger who the Customs Area Controller of the MMIA command, Mr Eporwei Charles Edeke identified as one Bashir Alli tried to bribe customs officers on duty at the airport with $ 400 when he was approached to surrender his bags on the trolley for routine search.

Eporwei explained that when Alli was rebuffed by the customs officers on duty, he offered the $400, he started fidgeting and after hours of dilly dallying, he eventually approved of the search of the bags which revealed the prohibited items.

He explained that upon search of the bags, the content revealed that Mr Alli had brought in prohibited items, which had contravened relevant sections of the Customs and Excise Management Act, as well as other laws concerning the importation of such prohibited items.

He affirmed that the suspect is still in the custody of the command pending when all interrogation is carried out, before Alli and the prohibited items will be handed over to the relevant authorities for prosecution.

The area controller who expressed shock over why a passenger would attempt to bring into the country such deadly weapons at a time when Nigeria is grappling with a myriad of security challenges, explained that the entrance of such deadly weapon could signal crisis for the country.

He explained that the refusal of the customs officer on duty to collect the bribe was a fall out of the training they had received under the new dispensation, where officers and men had been motivated to nib such deadly trend in the bud.

He described the Barretta air pistols as high calibre ammunition, which could be converted into regular pistols, that portends danger for victims of its use.

The customs boss explained that it was becoming worrisome that prohibited weapons were being flown into the country through South Africa affirming that on May, some explosives were intercepted at the MMIA, Ikeja, Lagos by customs officers at the NAHCO warehouse.

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